The sky was subtle but a lovely backdrop as I headed to the dentist last week. It got me to thinking about how subtlety seems to be fast becoming a lost art.

If you leave your home or connect with the outside world at all, there’s a constant stream of attempts to capture your attention, change your mind, sell you something, win your vote and take your dollar.

Have you ever noticed that commercials are louder than the tv show you’re watching? Or how frequently the same commercial plays? That’s a reflection of our misguided belief that saying it louder and more often will win over someone.

You used to just see it in advertising but now it’s coming at us in social media as well, seeping into other areas of real life and it’s exhausting.

I suppose you could call me something of a hypocrite. After all, the messages shared here are pretty consistent – there’s beauty everywhere if you wish to see it, the past is to be appreciated, there’s always something to be learned, and Amelia Earhart was right – Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

I unapologetically hit you with optimism almost every day. However, I have nothing to lose or gain from your being here and only hope to brighten your day in some way.

Remember, louder and more frequent isn’t better or more true. In fact, the truth and the good are most often found in the quiet subtleties around you. Go find them.

A Memory Of A Lifetime

Courtesy The Chicago Tribune

Facebook memories gave me a real gem yesterday and it made my day.

The statement from ten years ago simply said “I just saw B.B. King in concert. Wow.”

That one line summoned a rush of memories from an epic road trip to Memphis and Nashville. This was the trip where I stayed in a wigwam. We studied Corvettes, toured Graceland and paid our respects to Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel. In all, we celebrated the music, history and bbq of the region for over a week.

The B.B. King concert was unplanned and dumb luck. The day we rolled into town, driving down Beale Street for the first time, we saw a banner on the side of BB’s club announcing that he was doing a show the next day. We called and got the last two standing room only tickets.

We had lunch earlier in the day and scoped out the ideal place to stand – in front of the bar where we would have no seat but would have the bar to lean on.

And it was perfect.

We were at the center, in the back of a room that really isn’t that big. We had a fantastic view of the stage but we had to get there early to secure our spot in this very intimate space. Then there were literal hours worth of amazing opening acts before B.B. came out.

I don’t recall how long we were there – six or seven hours, I think, but it was so much fun I didn’t even care that I was dead on my feet.

The only wrench in the works was an older Australian man with the biggest backpack I’ve ever seen. He stood in front of me most of the night. He seemed to forget that he had the ginormous pack but the lapse in memory may have been caused by his drunkenness. Luckily, he was friendly and jovial and glad to be alive even if he was a nuisance.

Incidentally, at some point a couple of guys standing next to us got tired of seeing him stumble into me and encouraged him to move on. We got to talking to them and they were also from southern Ohio. It was nice to meet someone from home and to know that chivalry isn’t dead. At least, it wasn’t dead ten years ago.

B.B. played well into the evening with the energy of a man much younger than his 85 years. When he was done, they wheeled out a birthday cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to the man who defined blues music for generations.

My only regret is that I didn’t hop in the autograph line. WHY didn’t I hop in the autograph line??? It was late and I was tired and my feet hurt but when you have a chance to meet a music legend, you can sleep when you’re dead. You can rest those feet later. Stand in the line. Express your admiration and get your picture taken with the legend.

B.B. is gone now but he lives on through his music, through the countless musicians he continues to inspire and through the memories of all the fans who love his music.

Incidentally, B.B. didn’t allow any kind of photography or videography during his shows. So I have no photographic evidence that I was there. But that also means I wasn’t looking through a sea of hands in the air taking pictures all night and that his audience was fully present in the moment, fully engaged in the music.

There’s something to be said for that.

Blink And You Miss It

I blinked and it was suddenly fall. The transition has been happening for some time but the early stages of fall happen so slowly and quietly that it’s often hard to see it coming.

Here’s to glorious blue skies and spectacular foliage, steaming bowls of soup, pumpkin bread, cute scarves and all the comforts of this season. It’s fall y’all. Go enjoy it!

Be A Beginner

When you close your eyes at night, know that you did your best with that day and be done with it.

Rest easy and wake up willing to be a beginner the next morning. It’s a new day, a fresh start.

Honor it as such.

And as Tabitha Brown says “Have a good day but if you can’t, don’t you dare go messing up no one else’s.”

Look Up

I am such a country mouse that any visit to a city with tall buildings isn’t complete without a series of pictures similar to this. It’s incredible to me that buildings can be built so tall and that there are hundreds and thousands of people at the ready to fill each one. The different materials used to create them and the way those materials complement and contrast with each other are a true marvel.

This is a corner in New York City several years ago and I especially appreciate the mix of solid and reflective materials.

As we walk down the street, we tend to look down or straight ahead.

Here’s your homework – wherever you are in this world, go outside and look up. If you’re in the country, there are sky and trees to enjoy. In a town, even in small towns, you will be amazed at what you will see by simply changing your perspective in this way.

Stop and Enjoy the View

This barn is a favorite landmark along a certain route I travel occasionally. It’s one of those places that always captures my eye but I’m usually in a hurry and don’t even consider stopping for a picture.

On this day, I stopped. It was just too pretty to pass by.

Some days we really must stop and enjoy the view. Here’s hoping this is one of those days for us all.